Life at the end of the road

April 10, 2019

A lot has happened

The last ten days have been a bit of a whirlwind really, after my last effort and the visit to the Isle of Raasay Distillery to watch and listen to Willie Campbell I got on with painting the house. Conditions were far from ideal with showers forecast but I chose the lee side to make a start.

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Moving from one side to the other as the wind changed, then when it got just too wet I set about strengthening up some fences.

We’ve bought a couple of pigs to fatten and plan to keep them on the croft in the hen and wind turbine fields for a while. We normally do this anyway but there are now a couple of extra ‘ladies’ at the ‘North End’ charging about the hill. Judy and Tilley, two rather large ‘Iron Age’ gilts (wild boar cross Tamworth) have been a welcome addition to the Arnish ‘wildlife’ but they’re somewhat impervious to fences of the regular calibre required for ‘tame’ pigs Smile So rather than have them tunnelling into ‘meet the neighbours’ I started beefing up the fences ‘just in case’ using timber grown and milled on Raasay.


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The two ‘darlings’ had been at Arnish for a good three weeks and I hadn’t actually seen them despite walking the two dogs every day in the general direction of where I thought they may be. Typically when I stopped for lunch I returned to my labours to find one of them in the hen field Smile

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I soon got her out and then the pair of them made off, not to be seen again (by myself at least) until today, ten days later Smile

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I also made good use of some old corrugated iron sheets from my mums house to provide a wind break and discourage porcine mining in the turbine field.

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There was some fearful showers, even some of snow but most of them seemed to miss the ‘North End’.

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This is me new pal Murdo the ‘hoodie’ who seems to know I’ve lost my appetite for shooting crows. I’m sure that as soon as I picked up a gun he’d be off like a shot but I seem to be getting soft in my old age. Mink excepted I’ve taken to not shooting anything I can’t eat, sure there are recipes for crow but Darling wife refuses to try them out Smile  I’ve seen enough sheep and lambs have their eyes plucked out whilst still living by a hoodie or raven to not be sentimental but as my lovely wife says ‘they’re just trying to survive’ and I’ve no had sheep for many years now. Ole Murdo is getting bolder and bolder and can be often seen in the garden but this rocky knoll just outside the gate is where he can watch over his territory and he probably knows it’s just outside the range of me shotgun anyway Smile


Well, I guess that picture was taken a week ago on ‘bin day’ Smile

More solar

Not that we actually need it but I decided to fit some more solar panels to the bunker. These would be just to supply a spare 48v 900Ah battery bank that sits in there doing nothing. Sure that makes no sense whatsoever but along with the Outback GVFX3048 inverter it feeds it’s just something I ‘acquired’ along the way Smile Like these thick heavy duty stainless steel brackets I found on eBlag at just £40 for 25. I cut half a dozen of the in half and fashioned them into mountings so I could put two 300W panels above the 60 hot water tubes on the bunker.


There was just enough room for the two mounted ‘landscape’ fashion.

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One end I fastened into the gable end with 10mm x 100mm ‘Multimonti’ fasteners . These fasteners are fantastic in concrete blocks, you just drill an 8mm hole and screw them in, no plug, no resin and you torque em up to 50Nm, though I filled the hole up with silicon sealant too to stop any dampness.

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It may not be very high up there but it wasn’t easy getting those 20kg panels up over the 60 glass tubes without breaking any I can tell you.

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Still, I managed all on my own last night and left the wiring for today, servicing the wife’s Subaru in-between lifts Smile


I do like my Chinese lift Smile 

The Land Rover saga

With Tayside Land Rover having had my dear old Landy for just over a year now for what was allegedly a six week job I decided to pay an unscheduled visit.

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It was 2:30 on Friday afternoon and nobody was home Sad smile

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We were going to spend the weekend in Edinburgh with our son anyway so it wasn’t a wasted journey.

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The weather wasn’t up to much right enough but we managed some good meals out and to see some of the sights.

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Korean barbecue at was well impressive, though I missed the signs that would have been mandatory on a CalMac ship. You know the signs for stupid people, like, ‘Surface may be hot’

Of course it’s hot, it’s a feckin barbecue Smile There wasn’t even one above the hot tap in the toilet to tell me the water may be hot!!!! Smile Not only that, they never provided a thermometer to tell me if the prawns were cooked inside. Really, it’s a miracle we made it out alive Smile

We also managed a fine Nepalese and French Caribbean meal as well as a trip to at the National Museum of Scotland.

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Where I got to meet one of my ‘screen idols’, Maria from Fritz Lang’s 1927 epic Metropolis Sure there was lots of hi-tech stuff there too but Maria made it for me Smile

On the way back I paid another impromptu visit to Tayside Land Rover and was most impressed to see THREE people actually working on the ‘Old Girl’ Smile


A tragedy

On Sunday 31st, probably around the time Darling wife and I were getting ready for Sunday lunch at Raasay house an elderly gentleman went missing on Raasay.

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Alistair Lovie, or Chop has he was affectionately known, that’ll be him doing some dry stone walling in the ‘hi-viz’ coat. Alistair went out for a walk and never came back, and whilst ‘as fit as a butchers dog’ he was suffering from dementia and despite a week long search by local volunteers, Skye Mountain Rescue, Portree Lifeboat, Coastguard, Police, Fire and Rescue using dogs, boats and the helicopter not a trace has been found of him. The search was called off a week later after a stupendous effort by all involved, including all the community members who kept the searchers supplied with coffee, baking, soups, sandwiches and help. Our thoughts are with Alistair’s wife, family and friends, not to mention the ‘wee dug’ that he was always out walking. And here I have to smile despite the tragedy for I suspect Alistair’s dementia was like my fathers insomuch as he kept forgetting he’d taken the dug for a walk. No sooner had my father sat down in the chair after taking Leah for a walk, then he would get up and take her out again Smile After three or four walks Leah would eventually get pi55ed off and leave my Pop to go out on his own Smile 

There was more but it’s after 22:00 now and time for bed.

February 8, 2019

Eleven hours in wellies :-)

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:44 pm

Home early tonight thanks to Erik who’s 60 knot winds put paid to the last two sailings. He was late in arriving right enough but the pishing rain was well ahead of the blow. It was so wet this morning that I put my wellies and oilskins on just to get to the car and open the gate !!! In all my years working on the ferry I’ve never done that before, sure, once or twice I’ve wished I had but today is my first day with CalMac when I have spent the entire day in wellington boots and waterproof trousers. I didn’t even take em off when down in the engine room working on the sewage plant, though that would probably have been a good move even on a sunny day Smile 

The drive down the road to work was something else, I swear I’ve never seen so much water. I know I say that every year and today I figured out why, it’s cos the frigging council have stopped clearing run offs at the side of the road so the water just lies in the many hollows and pot holes. The whole stretch from Holloman to Oscaig is like a river, purely cos there are no run offs through the grass at the side of the road to let the water away. Every summer the verges at the side of the road get higher and every winter the puddles get deeper. Sure, occasionally they’ll pay someone to patch up the holes in the road but why can’t they just pay someone to clear the water off first??

Whilst Erik was well predicted, we were supposed to be ‘in the eye of the storm’ with average wind speeds of only 19knots, well they got that bit spectacularly wrong. The solitary sun that XC placed in one of its hourly predictions did appear, albeit only briefly but it was a welcome break in the relentless rain. Not enough to remove the wellies right enough but bright enough to produce a nice rainbow or two in-between the gloom.

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The Spindrift decided to leave her mooring in favour of a sheltered berth astern of Hallaig

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and that was it really. We put extra ropes on Hallaig and bade her farewell, I even got halfway home in daylight. Once home I locked the hens in, collected the eggs, cleared a blocked drain, finally removed my wellies and ‘called it a day’.

You call that an egg!!


Look what one of our chooks laid, probably in protest of me forgetting to let them out this morning Sad smile Luckily I remembered before lunch and one of our neighbours let them out Smile

Stir fried monkfish


It may have been a stormy day but the fish van managed to make it safely over with some lovely haddies, smokies, cod, salmon, scallops, prawns and much more. I came away with a nice piece of monkfish that darling wife stir fried and boy was it deelish. The lovely glass of McGuigan Back Label is washing it down just right Smile Sure they say white for fish, me, I say white for cooking, red for everything else Smile 

A wee night out

Isle of Raasay Distillery

Tomorrow afternoon it’s ‘Pie, beans and a pint’ all for a tenner at the Raasay Distillery Actually it starts with the rugby at 14:00 and finishes at 23:00 but I’ll be popping in for the ‘pie and beans’ after the 18:00 sailing from Sconser. Methinks they stop serving food at 19:00 so I’ve booked my pie already Smile perhaps I’ll go back for my pint after the late sailing Smile Might even have a few more and stay in the ‘toon hoose’ Smile

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